Culvert Inspection

Today was the day for inspecting the culverts that were recently installed on the Barn Road. I went with Coven, my 4-year-old grandson and Tom Purvis, from the local office of the NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service, part of the USDA).

Cove Inspecting a Culvert

We get a lot of rain here in Oregon, and if the water isn’t correctly handled, it can adversely affect a road in no time flat.  Water running down a dirt road causes erosion, making gullies in the road (I’ve seen them 3 feet deep!) and washing dirt into the creeks and rivers below. Not to mention the fact that a road can become completely impassable over the course of just one winter if it isn’t properly maintained.

The road was graded and used heavily when we did our logging this past summer, so when the loggers pulled out it was a perfect opportunity to get 6 needed culverts installed in order to protect the road.  With the culverts to capture and route the water to the downside of the road and proper water barring and rolling dips (where a dip is made in the road to channel any running water off the road), the life expectancy of the Barn Road was extended considerably.

Because of the importance of proper road maintenance, we got a grant from the NRCS to help with the culverts.  Hence Tom being with us for the inspection.  With his final approval and all the proper paperwork (NRCS is part of the Federal Government, after all), we’ll get a check to help offset the costs.

Coven was a big help, checking the culverts (as shown above) to make sure you could see all the way through them and doing his “projects” (digging with his stick in the bank) as we went along.

Cove doing a "project" on the road

I checked out the culvert installations several weeks ago, and then they were also looked at by a Tuch Koreiva from the Oregon Depart of Forestry.  There were a couple of issues  that the contractor had to come back and fix, so that was one of the things we were looking at during this little outing.

One of the culverts was questionably installed, and was beginning to fail with just the first rain.  On this trip, one of the points was to make sure that the culvert had been reseated and that the two parts were properly connected.

Marie in the Culvert

Marie in the Culvert

I tried to get Coven to go in and check it for me, but he decided not to. So I got down and dirty – actually crawling inside a 24″ culvert to make sure the two parts were properly connected. (They were.)  It wasn’t too bad, being a new culvert and all, but I certainly got covered in mud getting in and out!

All in all, it was a good trek.  The culverts passed inspection, Coven learned a little more about what goes on at the Ranch and I get to do more laundry!



  1. Marie – you’re truly a steward of the land and it’s been great to have you as a conservation partner; the Oregon white-oak savannah area restoration is also proceeding well and I’m looking forward to seeing that grow to become more like the historic habitat that we know will add to the aesthetic value of the landscape and offer more opportunities for wildlife.

  2. Aw! I miss the ranch. I would have climbed into a culvert for you.

    So cute to see Cove being helpful.

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